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Environment Neglected forests threat to biodiversity in Nigeria By Alex Abutu Nigerian government established several forest reserves for conservation of forest resources, but the reserves…


Neglected forests threat to biodiversity in Nigeria

By Alex Abutu

Nigerian government established several forest reserves for conservation of forest resources, but the reserves have been seriously neglected and received little or no improvement in terms of investment and management, says an analysis of the nation’s biodiversity.

The analysis was conducted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an international agreement established by the United Nations. CBD has the aim of preserving biological diversity around the world. Nigeria became a party member to CBD during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992.

The CBD in the analysis entitled ‘The Main Threats to Biodiversity in Nigeria’, noted that the implication of these forest losses is that “many plants and animals, including many potentially valuable species are on the fast track to extinction.”

World Rainforest Movement records show that 70-80 per cent of Nigeria’s original forests have disappeared and presently the area occupied by forests is reduced to 12 per cent.

In the period between 2000 and 2005, Nigeria lost about 2,048, and 000 ha of forest according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation while the USAID Report on Biodiversity and Tropical Forestry Assessment recorded that there were too many environmental threats in Nigeria affecting biodiversity.

A national assessment also confirmed the reality of high rise and fast tracked increase in biodiversity loss in Nigeria.

An analysis of the major underlying factors responsible for the continuous degradation of biodiversity in Nigeria include high population growth rate as “biodiversity supports the growing populations in rural and urban areas but the pressure is becoming increasingly higher due to over-exploitation occasioned by high demand,” CBD noted.

“Nigeria’s large population is characterised by high percentages of illiteracy, unemployment and poverty, which act as powerful drivers of increasingly severe demands on the remaining biodiversity in Nigeria. Evidence-based field studies have confirmed that natural processes of regeneration are not able to cope with the over-exploitation in high magnitude.”

Other drivers identified by the organisation include poverty, policy and legislation constraints, poor land use planning, governance and transparency, socio-cultural characteristics, food and trade connections and effect of climate change.

Katsina association raises 3 m tree seedlings

The Kastina State Association of Landscapers and Tree Seedling Sellers said it has raised more than three million tree seedlings for sale to government and individuals in the state.

Alhaji Sanusi Yandaki, state chairman of the association, said that the street value of the tree seedlings in all the nurseries in Katsina metropolis was above N15 million.

He revealed that the seedlings were planted and nurtured in over 50 private nurseries in the state capital for easy accessibility of the product.

Yandaki also said that his members have planted assorted tree seedlings for the purpose of raising commercial and economic trees.

“We have planted tree seedlings like mango, guava, orange, moringa, cashew and pawpaw. We have also in our possession, seedlings of gum Arabic, neem, assorted flowers and some foreign tree seedlings for decoration of houses,’’ he said.

He said that the tree seedlings were solely aimed at complementing government’s efforts in checking the spread of desert encroachment in the state.

Yandaki said that the private tree seedlings nurseries would also contribute to the reduction of unemployment among the teeming youths in the state.

He called on financial institutions to provide soft loans to members of the association that are planning to expand their nurseries. (NAN)

Association tasks new water minister

From Dele Ogunyemi, Ibadan

The Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners and Practitioners (AWDROP) has tasked the newly-appointed Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Adamu Suleiman, to unfold in earnest the federal government’s policy direction for the water sector.

It also enjoined the various state governments to set up regulatory commissions for water production and supply in their respective states.

At a press conference in Ibadan, the national president, Engr. Michael Ale, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for acceding to public outcry that the Ministry of Water Resources should not be merged with any other ministry “so as not to cause backwardness to the water sector in the country.”

AWDROP then emphasised the need for the water resources minister to convene an all-inclusive stakeholders forum with a view to identifying the current water situation in Nigeria and proffering enduring solutions to the problems inhibiting effective production and supply of potable water to all the nooks and crannies of the country.

The association also advised the minister to strengthen the value chains around water resources so as to make the water sector a profitable business in the country.

While lamenting that 80 per cent of reported sicknesses in hospitals in Nigeria are related to waterborne diseases, AWDROP urged the minister to vigorously pursue the Nigerian Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC) Bill, which has been gathering dust on the shelves of the National Assembly for years.

Superhighway: Environmentalist warns Ayade

From Eyo Charles, Calabar

Mr Odey Oyama, Founder of Rainforest Resource and Development Centre (RRDC), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has advised governor of Cross River State, Professor Ben Ayade, to beware of accepting funds from questionable foreign funds providers for his signature projects, the superhighway and deep seaport.

Interacting with journalists in Calabar, Oyama called on Ayade to disclose sources of funding for both projects, as keeping these away from the public and other government institutions was against public laws.

He maintained that except the sources of funding of projects are made public and placed under public scrutiny, the risk of opening the door for money laundering could arise.

He also expressed fear that foreign funds providers that the governor was looking to approach could have links with international terrorist organisations such ISIS.

“It is easy for people to use opportunities of very popular projects such as this to recycle stolen public funds and thereafter make the proceeds to appear as legitimate income. This must be avoided and the doctrines of transparency and anti-corruption must necessarily be applied.

“The concealment of the true nature or sources of funding for the super highway project would tantamount to a violation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004, Freedom of Information Act, 2011, and other Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“A super highway project is a public interest project. It should be expected that the land survey and engineering drawings as well as all the technical reports that form the foundation of this project ought to have been made public,” Oyama insisted.

He said that the president may not have been briefed but invited for the groundbreaking ceremony, arguing that the governor did not follow the process of awarding public contracts before the superhighway contract was awarded.

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